Manipulation in Relationship

How to Recognize and Overcome

Manipulation is the act of intentionally influencing another person, often to your own benefit. Manipulative people aren’t usually malicious and are often not aware that their actions cross the line into manipulation. However, manipulation can be destructive and has long-term effects on your self-esteem and trust in other people. If you feel like someone is trying to manipulate you, continue reading for some helpful advice on recognizing and overcoming manipulation in relationships.

Defining manipulation in relationships

Manipulation is not assertiveness, nor is it passion. Manipulation is a form of deception. Whether it’s spending more time with them, choosing a career path, or doing things their way, manipulation is an attempt to get you to act a certain way. If you’re being manipulated — whether it’s a romantic relationship, friendship, or parent-child relationship — it’s a sign that you need to reevaluate your role in that relationship.

Identifying Manipulation

Look for the following signs of manipulation in relationships: 

  • They expect you to conform to their wants, needs, and ideals. 
  • They guilt trip you when you don’t meet their expectations. 
  • They make you feel like you owe them something. 
  • They make you feel like you are always wrong. 
  • They invalidate your emotions. 
  • They expect you to sacrifice your self-care for them. 
  • They expect you to sacrifice your values for them. 

If these signs sound familiar, you might be the victim of manipulation in a relationship.

What is Coercive Coaching?

Coercive coaching is a type of manipulation that takes place between two people — one of whom has some authority over the other. Coercive coaching is also called directive coaching and is often used at work to coach employees through certain goals and tasks. It’s often done in an attempt to get results more quickly and efficiently, but it can cause harm to the employee if the relationship isn’t trusting and open.

Recognizing Emotional Manipulation

Emotional manipulation can be a sign that you are being gaslighted in a relationship. You may notice that your significant other has a habit of telling you that you’re too sensitive, too demanding, too forceful, or too angry. While everyone gets angry, and it’s normal to feel upset sometimes, you may feel like your emotions aren’t valid. If your partner is trying to calm you down and put your emotions in a box, they may be trying to manipulate you emotionally.

Identifying Virtual Abuse And Stalking

If someone is using technology to manipulate you — whether they are stalking you online or using technology to control you — they are engaging in virtual abuse. If someone is contacting you excessively or violating your privacy, they’re probably doing it to manipulate you. For example, your partner keeps calling you when you’re trying to end the relationship. They’re probably doing it because they know you’ll feel obligated to respond.

Recognizing Neglect 

Neglect is a type of manipulation that occurs when someone is being a poor partner. They might ignore your needs, ignore your feelings, or just ignore you in general. Neglectful partners often try to manipulate you into taking on their responsibilities and doing things that you don’t want to do. If your partner expects you to give up your self-care — like taking time to relax, sleeping enough, and eating a balanced diet — they are manipulating you and your resources.

Manipulation can be an alarming sign in a relationship because it shows that someone is trying to control you. It’s important to recognize the signs of manipulation and take the appropriate steps to remove yourself from that relationship. You have the power to leave and find a healthier, more mutually beneficial relationship where you feel safe and happy.

This article is written by a therapist from Sensera – a self-help app that provides daily CBT audio sessions and exercises. The app helps people deal with a variety of mental issues (anxiety, low self-esteem, relationship problems). Download Sensera now to become happier!

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